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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Best way to print a 16x20?
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01/29/2006 01:11:32 AM · #1
I want/need to print a 16x20. Staples of all places seems to be able to do it, and the samples they have an display are rather nice, and the coupon I have means the image is going to cost me $4. For $4 i need to print a few 16x20s!!

So how best to prepare the file? I did a 10x13 at 170dpi and it looked just fine. The file I have is approx 2000x2500 (128DPI at 16x20) - is this sufficient? I have another file that works out to 120dpi.

I know Alamy and other places have one upsize in one step in PS - so I could upsize (bicubic resample) to whatever - lets say double, to get a 250dpi file size - is this going to result in a better print?

I want to get this printed today (sunday) since I will be at staples to get copies for work anyway...saves me a trip.
199747.jpg 244368.jpg
Are the images in question.
01/29/2006 01:29:03 AM · #2
300 dpi is the recommended resolution for printing.
01/29/2006 01:39:20 AM · #3
Go to Fred Miranda and checkout the SI Pro2 resizer. When I bought it it was $20 and does an excellent job at upsizing with no jags or loss that is visible. The closer you get to 300 the better off you will be expecially at that size. If you use PS CS2 try to upsize is several small steps. It seems to have more pixels to work with that way. Great work on the pics, good luck!
01/29/2006 01:41:49 AM · #4
While 300dpi is recommended, it is not always necessary. Here at DPCPrints, they will do it at 150dpi. Good results can be achieved at lower dpi, but mileage varies greatly:)

Fred Miranda has software for upsizing and profiles for many individual cameras, including the 300D. I have found this useful for when I want to produce a large print. The price is $29.90, but well worth it in my opinion.
01/29/2006 01:47:02 AM · #5
Most people say the best way to enlarge files for large size prints is to do it with bicubic in steps of 10% at a time. And your file may need to have the sharpening adjusted after you have gotten it upsized. As Mary Ann says, 300 is considered the ideal resolution. Personally I think anything above 200 will work but it also depends on the characteristics of the shot. Some upsize better than others.
01/29/2006 01:49:44 AM · #6
Originally posted by Mary Ann Melton:

300 dpi is the recommended resolution for printing.


Wrong. An old, well, new, wivestale.
depends on many variables, including output device. the human eye cannot distingush above 240dpi or so. Here as well as elswhere recomend 240dpi for injet printing. I have 4x6's printed at 100dpi that are jsut fine, indistinguishable from a 300dpi 4x6 of the same subject.

Viewing distance is something to consider - billboards on the road look fine from the car - up close, well, they are 3 to 9 DPI prints.

optimal viewing distance is twice the diganol measure of the print.

I have PS 7. At this time even $29 is too much. Spent $90 yeaterday on software...I have read about the multi step thing and tried it (onscreen) in PS7 - yuk. One step (on screen) looks fine.

Perhaps I need to try a 4x6 test print at walmart 1 hour...a 100% crop at 125 dpi, and a 100% crop of upsized 250DPI. Hmm...
01/29/2006 01:50:16 AM · #7
Originally posted by coolhar:

Most people say the best way to enlarge files for large size prints is to do it with bicubic in steps of 10% at a time.

This depends on the software you're using, and to some extent, on the image content.

If you are using Photoshop CS or PS Elements 3 or 4, it is supposed to be better to upsample in a single step using the Bicubic Smoother option.
01/29/2006 01:52:18 AM · #8
Why not let the software/machine at the printing place do what it has to do with the file? Maybe bring two JPEGs along, and tell them you're only going to buy the one that looks the best...one at 128dpi, let the machine/software do the work, and one upsized to 150 or 200 dpi through photoshop.
01/29/2006 02:17:18 AM · #9
Originally posted by deapee:

Why not let the software/machine at the printing place do what it has to do with the file? Maybe bring two JPEGs along, and tell them you're only going to buy the one that looks the best...one at 128dpi, let the machine/software do the work, and one upsized to 150 or 200 dpi through photoshop.


Before I bought the Epson R1800 I used MPIX and Sam's Club. Sam's was great at not charging if I didn't like the outcome ... even when it was my fault. Great idea to check with them, they will want a return customer especially one who does lots of wedding like I'm sure you will start to do, you're doing great.
01/29/2006 02:37:42 AM · #10
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Originally posted by Mary Ann Melton:

300 dpi is the recommended resolution for printing.


Wrong. An old, well, new, wivestale.
depends on many variables, including output device. the human eye cannot distingush above 240dpi or so. Here as well as elswhere recomend 240dpi for injet printing. I have 4x6's printed at 100dpi that are jsut fine, indistinguishable from a 300dpi 4x6 of the same subject.

Viewing distance is something to consider - billboards on the road look fine from the car - up close, well, they are 3 to 9 DPI prints.

optimal viewing distance is twice the diganol measure of the print.

I have PS 7. At this time even $29 is too much. Spent $90 yeaterday on software...I have read about the multi step thing and tried it (onscreen) in PS7 - yuk. One step (on screen) looks fine.

Perhaps I need to try a 4x6 test print at walmart 1 hour...a 100% crop at 125 dpi, and a 100% crop of upsized 250DPI. Hmm...


I can see a big difference between 100 dpi and 300 on 4x6.
01/29/2006 02:57:48 AM · #11
Originally posted by PhantomEWO:


Before I bought the Epson R1800 I used MPIX and Sam's Club. Sam's was great at not charging if I didn't like the outcome ... even when it was my fault. Great idea to check with them, they will want a return customer especially one who does lots of wedding like I'm sure you will start to do, you're doing great.


I use Sam's Club also...I've probably had close to $30 worth of prints that I never paid for and had them reprint...once because they forgot a border, and a couple times for other reasons...I've also spent a lot there and they all know me by name.

My step-dad once ordered photos through sams club online, and they sent him 3 sets of them...I returned 2 sets at the store, no questions asked -- that was close to $64 worth of stuff.

The only reason I joined Sam's was for their printing.
01/29/2006 06:48:00 AM · #12
I recommend MPIX. Their print quality is really good and I love their paper, specially the metallic paper. If you are shooting with the Digital Rebel you should have no problem with 16x20 prints. If you want to upsize, I've always used PS CS resizing tool with the bicubic setting. Differnt people have differnt methods but I resize gradually as opposed to in one go. I usually upsize 500 pixels at a time on the longest side. I wouldn't trust Staples with prints like this, but that's just me. Good luck.

June
01/29/2006 09:33:41 AM · #13
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

I want/need to print a 16x20. Staples of all places seems to be able to do it, and the samples they have an display are rather nice, and the coupon I have means the image is going to cost me $4. For $4 i need to print a few 16x20s!!


Go ahead and do your prints the way you want. At $4 it is not as if it is going to cost you much if they turn out bad. But I would recommend just doing a couple to see what you get. They will necessarily be of low quality because you are cutting corners. But if the prints look good enough to you then who cares?

However, if the quality of the prints does not meet your expectations then consider the following...

Quality is the main issue with larger scale prints. With cropping you could be upscale printing by as much as 400% larger than its actual size for a 16 X 20. That is a lot. Minor issues then become major defects.

It is impossible to tell from a 72 DPI web graphic if an image will print well at 16 X 20. It can have huge defects such as color noise and artifacting that is impossible to see but that show up like a sore thumb in a large print.

Your web graphics appear a little soft focused to me... at 16 X 20 they will be incredibly soft focused. That could be a problem.

The standard DPI for prints is 300... use it, don't cut corners. Print quality suffers and the effects are magnified the larger the print.

Regardless what you might hear to the contrary, NEVER significantly upscale an image in one pass. ALWAYS upscale incrementally. Buy software to do it or create an action in PS to do it. Heck, if you want to upsacle in one pass then let the print shop do it. Their RIP software does it a lot better than PS does.

When post processing closely examine your image to at least 400% size (prior to upscaling) or more to see defects that will show up in large scale prints. Apply noise reduction and/or perform touchups as needed. The primary things to look for are haloing, digital artifacts and color noise. Be advised this can be time consuming but it is well worth the effort.

Apply sharpening AFTER upscaling the image for printing and then examine it closeup again and make final touchups of defects brought out by sharpening.

Another thing to consider is the paper and print process that Staples uses to print on. Costco and other low priced outlets use very thin, inexpensive paper and Staples may not be using archival papers. Find out. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for.

This will result in a lot more effort on your part but can make all the difference in the world.

And we have not even considered framing yet. :)
01/29/2006 10:57:56 AM · #14
Thanks for the advice. I will have to examine them closely. I ahve expereicned the occasional 8x10 that looks like crap due to an issue like you mention (noise mostly). I have not expereicned the artifacting bit.

Perhaps I will ask them what is best and make a second trip afterall.
01/29/2006 11:11:06 AM · #15
I also use Sams Club. I have a relationship with the lab manager and get great service and great images. I also like mpix for prints larger than 10x13. I have use my highest resolution images and had a 16x20 printed that made the customer cry. She really cried it was that beautiful. The colors were crisp and exactly what I shot. One thing though with mpix if you don't want them to adjust your colors you have to select that option, otherwise I think they try to color correct. I just didn't want to take the chance. Also, mpix is fast. If you submit a print for print today, Sunday depending on where you live, you will have them in your hands by Thursday or Friday at the latest. Mine usually arrive within 3 days of my order. HTH
01/29/2006 11:42:43 AM · #16
There are at least as many way to print a pic as there are to skin a cat.

I have found that most people (non-photographers) don't care that much about how the PRINT looks. They care about whats in the picture and how THEY look.

So, it seems that for all practical purposes most people will be pleased with prints as long as they look better than newspaper pictures--bold statement, but its true.

Don't get me wrong, though, I'm all for selling a top-quality product. I just want to say that, unless they point it out, you should avoid discussing print quality issues with your clients. They don't usually pixel peep the way photographers do.
01/29/2006 01:45:43 PM · #17
Sam's Club here used a Fuji Frontier printer with Fuji Crystal Archive paper - rated 200yrs.
01/29/2006 02:06:24 PM · #18
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Originally posted by Mary Ann Melton:

300 dpi is the recommended resolution for printing.


Wrong. An old, well, new, wivestale.
depends on many variables, including output device. the human eye cannot distingush above 240dpi or so. Here as well as elswhere recomend 240dpi for injet printing. I have 4x6's printed at 100dpi that are jsut fine, indistinguishable from a 300dpi 4x6 of the same subject.


I worked in a photo lab back many years ago that was transitioning to digital printing (Noritsu lab equipment and ink jet large format) we ran a series of 4x6's of the same image through at DPI's ranging from 72 to 360 (the max of the machine). We didn't put anything identifieable on them except for a 1,2,3 (and we even mixed those up), our lab tech walked out and laid the prints out in perfect DPI sequence 72, 100 etc.... The rest of us couldn't go beyond about 220 DPI (we got tighter on DPI as we went up, every increase in DPI of 25 raised printing time by 1/2 second- which is huge when you run 1500 to 2500 prints in a day). We asked the tech how he did it and he said "Well, its pretty obvious."

I guess what I am saying is that it is amazing how different some people can pick things out. Of course he used to always sit at the machine and eat miniature carrots all day long too, so maybe that played a role. But even from our little test it was hard to pick between 200 dpi and 300 dpi- although we all found it really easy to pick between 200 and 100.

Message edited by author 2006-01-29 14:08:24.
01/29/2006 02:20:54 PM · #19
go to a local photo store and get it done well...

if you really want a good 16x20, get yourself a hasselblad and go shoot some film (gasp!) ;) ...

and yes, 240dpi is the output for inkjet printers...
you might also look into getting a c-print of your work, it is still a more viable option than inkjet at this point...
01/29/2006 02:38:38 PM · #20
Or get a 20x30 from a reputable printer for $10.

//www.elcocolor.com/hot_internet_only_specials.htm

or www.whcc.com for $12.75 16x20.

Message edited by author 2006-01-29 14:41:03.
01/31/2006 12:59:51 PM · #21
If you use a lamda printer, 200 dpi is plenty. A good inkjet I'm hereing 360 dpi will produce the best results.

If it's a pro lab with a pro rip, let them upsize it when they print it.
01/31/2006 01:55:02 PM · #22
nevermind, i have a book that will explain,

Message edited by author 2006-01-31 14:08:22.
01/31/2006 02:21:29 PM · #23
Alright guys this is my first post so take it easy on me here. :-)

I work at a shop where I do oversize prints all day long on an HP DesignJet 5000ps. When we print a file from photoshop we try to keep the file size around about a 50MB maximum (a 16x20 at around 235 ppi=50MB) If that image was going to be 24x36 then I would resample it to around 143ppi. If I print the 16x20 at both 235ppi, and 143ppi you will probably not see a difference. Most photos will be viewed at a distance equal to the diagonal measurement (roughly) so that would be 25.5" for a 16x20 and at that distance you will not be able to see a noticable difference. When you print that 50MB file to your printer it gets converted from RGB to CMYK and interpreted for the color space of your printer, so our 50MB file going to the HP 5000 winds up being ~300MB to the printer, and it gets even larger over there! Our HP has a 20GB hard drive, and sometimes it chokes on multiple files larger than 50MB.

Sorry if I rambled along on that one, but I hope this helps all of you.
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